Tritons Finish Strong in Spokane

    The women’s team finished sixth out of 26 teams, while the men’s team was seventh out of 25 teams in a meet that would serve as a preview of the Spokane, Wash. course that will host the NCAA West Regionals and NCAA Division II Championships in November.

    Sophomore Chia Chang led the way for the Triton women, clocking 21:58.3 over the 6K course to take 10th overall. UCSD had a trio of freshmen come in after Chang, with Michelle Le Roux taking 14th place with a time of 22:12.6. Dani Brabender finished in 23:24.6 to take 55th place, while Madison Tanner was just behind in 59th place at 23:27.7. Junior Catherine Crisp rounded at the scoring by coming in 63rd place.

    “We had a very good day,” head coach Nate Garcia said. “It was really rewarding to finish in front of those teams. It was the first time running the 6K distance for five of the eight runners we brought up there and for them to step up really bodes well for us going forward.”

    The Triton women came into the meet ranked No. 10 in the West Region and last among the five squads to compete on Saturday. But UCSD’s 187 points was good for No. 6 — well ahead of No. 8 Seattle Pacific, No. 12 Alaska Fairbanks and No. 14 Western Oregon.

    Ruby Roberts of Washington State was the individual winner at 20:53.8. The Division I Cougars had five of the top seven runners score 21 points to easily take the team title.

    On the men’s side, junior Matt Lenehan paced the Tritons with a 29th place finish, coming in at 25:31.1 over the 8K course. Sophomores Kellen Levy and Mario Flores were next for the Tritons, finishing in 25:44.7 and 25:55.3, respectively. Seniors John Svet and Anthony Heredia were close behind to round out the Triton scoring, with times of 26:08.4 and 26:11.2 respectively. Garcia said the Triton men look to improve in the weeks going forward.

    “Our basic takeaway was it was a good day but not a great day,” he said. “We know we’ll be able to be better in the weeks going forward. That being said, finishing seventh and beating a good number of schools shows the quality of this group.”

    The Tritons totaled 230 points for the meet for No. 7 overall. UCSD finished behind Western Washington, Western Oregon and Northwest Nazarene, which each entered the meet ranked above the Tritons in the West Region rankings.   

    Colorado School of Mines — currently the No. 3 team in Division II — took first place with 27 points. Mines also had the top individual finisher in Sean Gildea, who broke the tape in 24:03.2.
    “I definitely think we are going in the right direction,” Garcia said. “We are excited to get a chance back where we believe we belong in the conference and in the region.”

    The Tritons now have two weeks to prepare for the Triton Classic, which will be the last home meet of the season. The men’s team will race 10K for the first time this season with the gun set to go off at 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. The women’s race will get things going at 9 a.m. with the 6K race.

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